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I don't think there are any "absolutes" when looking at names and their relationship to religious affiliation or ethnic group. While it may be true that "many" Nierenbergs were Jewish, what makes you think they all had to be Jewish? I know a family - Nierenberger (I know slight difference) who are Catholic. So, it makes sense some families with the name might be Protestant.

Or maybe he gave up his Jewish faith and adopted Protestant?

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Nirenberg is more of a Jewish name. There are 600 hits on the name with that spelling in Yad Vashem's database of Shoah victims. But there are only 12 hits for Nierenberg. These appear to be mostly Galician and Hungarian Jews.

There are only two Nierenbergs (no Nirenbergs) in the Bavarian Army Kriegsstammrollen, both Protestant. They were also brothers.

Of the nine Nierenbergs (no Nirenbergs) in the WW1 casualty lists, five were from the same general area in what is now Sachsen-Anhalt. Two were from Zerbst in Anhalt, one from Gehrden, Kreis Jerichow I, which was just over the border from Zerbst, one from Aken, Kreis Calbe, which is just south of Zerbst and west of Dessau, and one from Pösigk, Kreis Bitterfeld, which was in a Prussian exclave located within Cöthen in Anhalt. Dessau today has five Nierenbergs in the telephone book. Anhalt had a tiny Jewish population (less than one half of one percent) and was over 95% Protestant, so the odds are these guys were Protestant as well.

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